How many Christians are there in Saudi Arabia?
There are an estimated 1.2 million Christians in Saudi Arabia. It’s a small percentage (3.4%) of the country’s total population of 35.3 million, the majority of whom are Muslim.
How are Christians persecuted in Saudi Arabia?
The majority of the Christians in Saudi Arabia are foreigners who temporarily live and work in the country. They can be targeted for their faith, since it's another way to abuse a worker – in an environment where foreign workers are already often subjected to horrific working and living conditions. Foreign Christians are heavily restricted from sharing their faith or gathering for worship, and any actions outside of the norm can lead to detention and deportation.
A much smaller number of Christians in the country are originally Saudi Arabian, and these are mostly converts from Islam. They are usually forced to live out their faith in secrecy. Otherwise, female converts risk physical violence and forced marriage by their families, while male converts risk being publicly shamed, beaten or imprisoned.
Nevertheless, there have been some Saudi Christians in recent years who have been bold enough to share their faith, at great risk to their lives.
Is it getting harder to be a Christian in Saudi Arabia?
Yes: Saudi Arabia has risen three places in the World Watch List. This jump reflects an increase in both pressure and violence – though this is partly because more persecution is now being reported to Open Doors contacts, where previously it was underreported.
How can I help Christians in Saudi Arabia?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors supports the body of Christ on the Arabian Peninsula by organising prayer, distributing Scripture resources, and training believers and pastors.
God, we pray for our family in Saudi Arabia. Help those who live their faith in secret. Help those who worship You in the midst of an abusive and dangerous work environment. Help all of Your people in Saudi Arabia to know You are there and that You are with them in their suffering. Bring them peace and help them feel a sense of Your mercy and love. In Jesus' name, Amen.